The Bay Area News Group, or BANG, created one today when it announced the folding of 12 of its papers under three different mastheads, a consolidation it called a “rebranding.”
Read the full announcement here. Here’s the crux of the realignment:
— The various editions of the Contra Costa Times (East County Times / San Ramon Valley Times / Valley Times) as well as the Tri-Valley Herald and San Joaquin Herald will be rebranded as The Times.
— The Oakland Tribune, Alameda Times-Star, Daily Review, Argus and West County Times will be rebranded as the East Bay Tribune.
— The San Mateo County Times will be branded under the Mercury News masthead and will continue to carry local news of the San Mateo area.
1. Two weekly newspapers will be launched, joining several others published by BANG and its affiliates in towns across the region. The new papers include the Valley Journal, serving Alamo, Danville and San Ramon; and the Times-Herald, serving Dublin, Pleasanton, Livermore and Sunol.
2. All newspapers will have a separate, stand-alone Local News section, 7 days a week, thereby giving more prominence to local coverage.
When will the changes to the newspapers take place?
1. The new weeklies will launch the week of August 22, 2011.
2. Ad zoning changes will occur on Sept. 12.
3. The Times and East Bay Tribune changes will be made on Nov. 2.
KQED News intern Nick Fountain today talked to Carl Hall, Executive Officer of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, CWA Local 39521, which represents 190 BANG journalists in the East Bay.
He was not so sanguine about the move, saying that 120 jobs would be eliminated, including 48 newsroom positions, some of which will be from management.
“It’s shocking to contemplate any change of this scale,” Hall said. “You’re talking about the loss of jobs on a mass scale and nobody knows whose job exactly is going to be cut, so everybody is trying to figure out what’s going to happen to my job, my bureau, my newspaper.”
Hall said the “strategic realignment” may make business sense, but “certainly cost -cutting is driving it. The newspaper industry as a whole has not been able to figure out what kind of business plan will work in the environment we’re in…”You don’t see a lot of creative vision out of the newspaper business (and) we the workers are paying the price.
“I don’t know how long this chaos and consolidation and layoff is going to last. We were hoping maybe by now we’d be in a recovery, but it doesn’t look like that’s happening.
“I can’t just point the finger at media news and say well they’re corporate ogres and they’re only cutting costs. I think they’re trying to find a strategy that will allow them to succeed, but right now we’re in this transition period that’s just devastating.”
Listen to the complete interview here: